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WoW ClassicMar 26, 2024 11:00 am CT

Everything you need to know about WoW Classic Season of Discovery — Phase 3 now live with Sunken Temple and Nightmare Incursions

WoW Classic Season of Discovery offers an alternate version of WoW Classic, adding new spells and abilities, new dungeons and raids, and new events to shake up old Azeroth. The season pushes us to explore in a way World of Warcraft hasn’t done in a long time.

Like other Classic content, Season of Discovery is rolling out in phases, with each phase adding Runes, a revamped raid, a new event, and an increased level cap. Phase 3 is now live, so let’s take a look at what’s available in the latest phase.

Season of Discovery Phases

Season of Discovery content is rolling out across several Phases, each broken down by level range:

  • Phase 1:
    • Level cap: 25
    • New content: Blackfathom Deeps 10-player raid, Battle for Ashenvale PVP event, Runes for chest, pants, and gloves
  • Phase 2:
    • Level cap: 40
    • New content: Gnomeregan 10-player raid,  Blood Moon free-for-all PVP event, Runes for belts and boots
  • Phase 3:
    • Level cap: 50
    • New content: Sunken Temple 20-player raid, Emerald Nightmare PVE event, Runes for helms and bracers
  • Phase 4:
    • Release date: Summer 2024
    • Level cap: 60
    • New content: New Runes, end game activities
  • Phase 5:
    • Release date: Autumn 2024
    • Level cap: 60
    • New content: End game content updates

Runes in Season of Discovery

Throughout Season of Discovery, you’ll find Runes in various ways, then engrave them onto your gear to gain their effects. Runes are currently available for chest, gloves, legs, belts, and boots, and Phase 3 will be adding helm and bracer Runes. During Phase 3, you’ll find more Runes while leveling instead of being bunched up at max level.

Here are all of the Runes we currently know about.

If you’re new to Season of Discovery, using Runes is very straightforward. Runes are applied via Rune Engraving, which lets you swap Runes any time you’re out of combat. Once you discover a Rune, it’s available to apply to the appropriate type of gear with a click from your character screen. The hard part is finding these Runes: you’ll be directed to your first Rune at level 2 via a quest from your class trainer, but after that you’ll need to scour Azeroth to find more Runes. Some Runes are available via Waylaid Supplies quests that randomly drop throughout the world — here’s how to complete Waylaid Supplies quests.

In addition to the Rune system, Phase 2 added Skill Books that provide additional skill customization. Blizzard didn’t add new Skill Books in Phase 3, but you can still collect Phase 2 Skill books to power up your spells. Here’s where to find every Skill Book in WoW Classic Season of Discovery.

New Phase 3 raid: Sunken Temple

Each Phase of Season of Discovery includes a new raid intended to match the difficulty level of traditional end-game raids, even though they’re at lower levels. So far we’ve seen Blackfathom Deeps and Gnomeregan, and now we’re headed into the Sunken Temple. (Considering how much time I’ve spent wandering around lost in Sunken Temple over the years, it wouldn’t be my first choice, but I’m curious to see what the Classic team does with it.

Here are the details:

  • Players: 20
  • Level: 50
  • Location: Swamp of Sorrows
  • Bosses: This is an eight-boss raid:
    • Atal’arion
    • The Festering Rot Slime
    • Atal’ai Defenders
    • Dreamscythe and Weaver
    • Avatar of Hakkar
    • Jamal’an the Prophet and Ogom the Wretched
    • Morphaz and Hazzas
    • Shade of Eranikus
  • Reset: Weekly lockout (future raids will follow this lockout model)
  • Loot: Hundreds of new and revamped items, including the Temple Explorer’s Gun Axe, a 2-handed axe that is also a gun. I thought that one was worth a special highlight.
  • Item sets: New item sets, with drops broken into two tokens to reduce the competition for drops. Each boss that can drop tokens will drop multiple tokens.
  • Quests: Upleveled quests, including class quests

Other Season of Discovery raids

  • Gnomeregan
    • Players: 10
    • Level: 40
    • Location: Dun Morogh (Horde players can speak to Sovik in Booty Bay to unlock a portal to the instance)
    • Bosses: Grubbis, Viscous Fallout, Electrocutioner 6000, Crowd Pummeler 9-60, The Mechanical Menagerie, Mekgineer Thermaplugg
    • Reset: Three-day lockout
  • Blackfathom Deeps
    • Players: 10
    • Level: 25
    • Location: Ashenvale
    • Seven bosses: Baron Aquanis, Ghamoo-Ra, Lady Sarevess, Gelihast, Lorgus Jett, Twilight Lord Kelris, Aku’mai
    • Reset: Three-day lockout

New Phase 3 event: Nightmare Incursions

  • Event type: PVE
  • Location: Ashenvale, Duskwood, Hinterlands, and Feralas
  • Levels: 25-50

The Dragons of Nightmare won’t be in Season of Discovery Phase 3, but their portals will lead players to a new PVE event: Nightmare Incursions. Enter the portals in Ashenvale, Duskwood, Hinterlands, and Feralas to cross into the Emerald Nightmare where you’ll face a range of corrupted creatures — some of them will be solvable by a well-geared player, but others will require a group.

As you participate, you’ll earn reputation with the new Emerald Wardens faction, who offer rewards for players from level 20 to 50. Here’s what you need to know about Nightmare Incursions.

Other Season of Discovery events

  • Blood Moon
    • Event type: Free-for-all PVP (opt out by speaking to the Zandalari Emissary in Booty Bay)
    • Location: Stranglethorn Vale
    • Available: Spawns for 30 minutes every three hours
    • Phase 3 updates: New level 50 rewards with a new currency
  • Battle for Ashenvale
    • Event type: PVE/PVP in which you kill mobs, capture objectives, and fight off other players along the way
    • Location: Ashenvale
    • Available: 60 minutes every three hours

What else is new in Phase 3?

It’s time for dual specs! In Phase 3 players will be able to unlock Dual Talent Specializations for a “small fee” of 50 gold. To unlock dual specs, you’ll have to find the Grendag Brightbeard <Dwarf of Many Talents>. He’s located in the Forlorn Cavern in Ironforge for Alliance, the Valley of Strength in Orgrimmar for Horde, and in Tanaris at the end of the dock in Steemwheedle Port for everybody.

Phase 3 also finally lets players level professions to 300, unlocking most recipes. Some recipes drop or have materials from level 60 raids and dungeons, and may be difficult or impossible to get: but you’ll finally have most profession items unlocked.

Also Warlocks are have gotten a new imp. Because why not?

Is it too late to start playing Season of Discovery?

Even if you haven’t logged on to the latest WoW Classic season, it isn’t too late to jump in and catch up with your friends, because Blizzard is providing significant reputation buffs for players leveling up for the first time or leveling alts. From levels 1 to 39, players will receive +100% experience with the Discoverer’s Delight buff. There’s also the Cozy Sleeping Bag, an item added in Phase 2 that provides an additional +3% XP buff and continues to work in Phase 3 — plus as you complete the quest to get it, you’ll earn Student Fodder, which adds four bubbles of rested to your experience bar. It’s not much, but every little bit counts — here’s how to get your own Cozy Sleeping Bag.

But even the trip from 40 to 50 will be faster than it used to be, because the Discoverer’s Delight buff will also grant +75% experience to players from levels 40-49. The new Nightmare Incursions are also a pretty great way to level, though Blizzard has already reduced their XP to make other means of leveling competitive.

The leveling grind in Season of Discovery isn’t like it was in vanilla or Classic: you can advance pretty quickly and get to the latest content. And with increased gold earnings from quests through level 39 and reduced riding training and mount costs, you’ll be running around the post-40 world in no time.

What to play in Season of Discovery

You can play any of the classes currently available in WoW Classic: Druids, Hunters, Mages, Paladins (Alliance only), Priests, Rogues, Shaman (Horde only), Warlocks, and Warriors. However, the expanded abilities available to them could change how they play. While you’ll be able to play in the traditional style if you want, the Runes you’ll find will unlock new gameplay options. These Runes have the potential to make your class very different, so before making your decision here’s the rundown of classes available for tanking, healing, and DPSing in Season of Discovery:

  • Tanks: Druid, Paladin, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, Warrior
  • Healers: Druid, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Shaman
  • DPS: All classes

Season of Discovery realms

There are a relatively small number of Season of Discovery realms, but each realm supports a higher number of players (using tech rolled out in patch 1.14.4) than we saw in vanilla (or Classic) WoW before. Blizzard has put extra effort into actively managing realm population, trying to avoid unbalanced PVP realms and overcrowded mega-realms and has attempted to maintain faction balance on PVP realms.

There have been no new Season of Discovery realms since launch, so if you’re starting a new character these are still your realm options:

  • PVE: Wild Growth, Penance (AU)
  • PVP: Living Flame, Lone Wolf, Shadow Strike (AU)
  • RP: Lava Lash
  • RP-PVP: Crusader Strike, Chaos Bolt

More Season of Discovery tips

We’ll have more advice once the Season kicks off, but for now we have a list of

Originally published November 30, 2023; updated April 9, 2024

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